Gene Robert Dretke, 79, passed away Friday, October 18, 2013.
He was surrounded by his immediate family and died peacefully at home in Fort Worth. Among his last words were, “work hard and stay close to Jesus.”
Gene was born on July 16, 1934, in Waupaca County, Wisconsin to Arnold and Velma Dretke, the third of 5 children. Raised on a dairy farm, he was no stranger to hard work. He graduated from Little Wolf High School in 1952, and later with a Bachelors of Science in Engineering from Valparaiso University in 1958. He met his faithful wife, Glenda Ruth Hawkins, at Valpo and they married in 1957. They recently celebrated 56 years together. Gene began his career as an engineer in 1959 with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He obtained his Masters degree in Engineering from Stanford University, graduating with honors in 1971. Gene retired from a successful career with the Corps in 1992 as Chief of Construction for the Southwest Division. He then began a second career with the U.S. Department of Energy, serving as the Chief of Conventional Construction of the Superconducting Super Collider project in Ellis County, Texas. Gene and Glenda retired in 1999 at Hilltop Lakes, Texas. He was active in the local politics of “The Hill”, but he was an honest man and, consequently, a terrible politician. He fished and hunted with his sons, and always enjoyed a good glass of scotch and a few hands of Texas Hold’em.
Gene is survived by his wife, Glenda, daughter and son-in-law Kathy and Charlie Dierker, son and daughter-in law, Hon. Brian and Lien Dretke and son, Mark Dretke, 6 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren; his brother and sister-in-law Rev. James and Barbara Dretke, and sister Kay Johnson, .and many beloved nieces and nephews.
Funeral services were held on Monday, October 21, 2013, at 2:00 p.m. at St. Paul Lutheran Church with Pastor John Messmann officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Hilltop Lakes Volunteer Fire Department, P.O. Box 1474, Hilltop Lakes, TX 77871.